Due to melting ice caps caused by global warming, the world saw a rise in sea levels and now, a new study revealed that those glaciers in Greenland can also affect the global ocean circulation and the future climate.
The University of South Florida scientists, along with colleagues in Canada and the Netherlands, have determined that the influx of fresh water from the Greenland ice sheet is "freshening" the North Atlantic Ocean and could disrupt the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), an important component of global ocean circulation that could have a global effect.
Researchers say it could impact the future climate in places such as portions of Europe and North America.
Researcher Tim Dixon said that they derived a new estimate of recent freshwater flux from Greenland using updated GRACE satellite data and the data suggest that the influx of freshwater from Greenland is accelerating and has changed the Labrador Sea in ways that could lead to a weakening of the AMOC.
Focused freshwater flux into the Labrador Sea has the potential to increase the buoyancy of surface waters and reduce formation of dense, deep water that helps drive the overturning circulation, said co-author Don Chambers.
According to Dixon, the global impacts are less certain, but potentially more consequential.
The study appears in the journal Nature Communications.